U.S. Army Specialist (Ret) Dillon Cannon became inspired to join the military following the tragic events of 9/11. He attended the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX and joined the U.S. Army in 2005. He was always the first to volunteer for assignments and approached his duties with enthusiasm, an attitude which earned him several medals including the Purple Heart. While serving in Iraq, Dillon was shot in the neck by a sniper, a near fatal injury which he fought hard to survive. After enduring 10 hours of surgery, he found himself permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
Dillon now lives in Sugar Land, TX with his fiancée, Sarah Billingsley, whom he met at a local Military Appreciation Dinner after his medical discharge from the military. They share a home which was provided by Impact A Hero, a non-profit organization committed to helping wounded soldiers. Their home was specifically outfitted with all the amenities needed to accommodate his injuries.
However, the couple faces several other challenges around the home they did not originally anticipate. “After being injured you don’t really think about some of the stuff you’re going to need because your life has changed so quickly,” he says, “so even the simplest things of like how high a sofa is… or how soft or firm a bed is, you have to make adjustments for your lifestyle.”
The couple has had to adjust several daily routines such as getting out of bed and even how they sit together on the sofa. Youval Meicler, the President of Texas Mattress Makers and Living Designs Furniture,is a veteran himself and he and staff members personally worked with the couple to provide furniture specially customized to help improve their daily lives.
The couple’s original bedding was less than ideal. Dillon and Sarah slept on two mattresses side by side which often became pushed apart and caused Sarah to fall out of bed. The staff at Texas Mattress Makers designed a pair of mattresses for the couple which not only meets their different comfort and support needs, but will also fit closer together. The sides of the mattresses are shaped so that they will mold almost seamlessly for a tighter fit. Sarah is excited to finally be able to cuddle with Dillon comfortably in bed for the first time.
Living Designs Furniture also stepped up to address the challenges presented by their couch. The couple’s original couch was set about 5 inches lower than the seat of his wheelchair with a cushion that set the body further in towards the back of the seat, making it very difficult for Dillon to get in and out of his chair. The cushions on the new couch are made to provide a firmer surface for Dillon to support his weight on his arms while he moves. Every aspect of the couch from the height of the seat and arms to the pitch of the back support has been designed to accommodate the veteran’s needs as well as the couple’s personal comfort and style.
Despite the challenges he faces on a daily basis, Dillon refuses to let his injuries stop him from accomplishing his goals and he actively pursues his hobbies of photography and working on his car. “God spared my life for a reason,” he says, “I am meant to be here on this earth and become a productive person.” Dillon is a source of inspiration for us and we are honored to be able to do our small part to help improve his quality of life. We would like to thank Dillon for sharing his story with us, and thank all veterans for their service to our country.
Learn how you can get involved by visiting the Impact A Hero website.